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FORUM I
PROGRAMME THEMATIC MEETINGS

I.12   Science and Energy 

 

Research and development of conventional and alternative energies. Present status and prospects for fossil fuels, nuclear energy, hydroelectric energy, solar energy, … Patterns of energy production, distribution, consumption. Challenges for scientific research.

Chair:
Rapporteur: Ugo Farinelli ENEA, Italy

Session co-ordinator: B. Berkovski Director, Division of Engineering Sciences, UNESCO
Local secretary: T. Jászoy Budapest Technical University, Hungary


ABSTRACTS:

Energy policy: strategy and challenges for the future:
technology
perspective

Chihiro Watanabe
Department of International Engineering and Management, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

The global imbalance of energy supply and demand coupled with the environmental consequences of environmental emissions is causing mounting concern for the sustainability of our development future. One answer to this predicament is to find appropriate solutions based on the systems options, incorporating advanced technologies, which can help to overcome energy and environmental constraints while also maintaining sustainable development.

While R&D investment has become increasingly more expensive and difficult to sustain such a huge investment, a dramatic increase in the transboundary flow of people, goods, money and information together with an increase in technology complementarity with capital stock and labor forces has accelerated the growth and spread of global technology spillovers.

Facing the above circumstances, in addition to extensive efforts to maintain sustainable R&D investment, a substitution of technology from the global marketplace for indigenous R&D investment has become an important strategy leading to greater concern for assimilation capacity (the ability to utilize this spillover technology) for sustainable development.

Efficient global learning is linked to technology spillover and both has mutually stimulating interaction. Thus, technology spillover not only alleviates some of the burden of huge R&D investment but also enhances the learning exercise involved in assimilating environmentally friendly technologies and processes.

Efficient global leaning improves quality of technology accelerating technology diffusion leading to socio-economic development. This development results in scarcity of energy and environmental capacity which induces further technology development and thus creates a virtuous cycle between R&D, assimilation of technology, energy efficiency improvement and socio-economic development.

Key messages obtained from the above review to energy policy could be summarized as follows:

  1. Systems dimensions are crucial for energy technologies to attain the sustainability goal.
  2. Global complementarity is indispensable for attaining the goal.
  3. Stimulation of global learning linked with technology spillover will play significant role.
  4. Construction and maintenance of a virtuous cycle thereon would be crucial.

Distributed power: a challenge for the 21st century

John Loughhead
Vice-President Technology, ALSTOM, France

The electricity supply systems common in the developed world today were conceived 50-60 years ago, at a time when they were considered a subject for public interest and control. Much electricity was generated from coal, and the primary objective was to maximise efficiency to reduce cost. Based on the technology of the day the optimum solution was to centralise generation close to the source of fuel and/or the essential heat sink. The energy was transmitted as electricity at high voltage (to minimise losses) on overhead air-insulated cables to minimise costs. Environmental concerns were limited to the deposit of combustion ash, and were resolved by building high chimneys so the problem was literally blown away in the wind.

During the last few years much has changed, and a number of factors, including:

  • Current trend of deregulation of electricity supply
  • Environmental concerns and political actions
  • Availability of natural gas as a fuel
  • Technology advances

suggest that not only is the classical solution no longer the best, but even that we may be forced to move away from it.

Given the above factors the optimum solution today appears to be a distributed power concept, where energy is transmitted as fuel and then converted to the form required (electricity or heat) at point of use. To do this requires certain technologies: new power electronic converters, computer-based protection and control systems, new conversion systems such as fuel cells, microturbines, etc. Some of these already exist, others are in development today, so distributed power is now realistic.

Implementing distributed power is best done as co-generation (both electricity and heat), and this immediately offers efficiencies around 85%, compared with the typical 55% of even the best central power generation technology. Further, it creates a system that is well-adapted to include renewable energy systems - solar photovoltaic, wind, wave, etc. - which are themselves inherently distributed systems due to the low power density of the energy source.

What, then, is the potential for science if these benefits can already be foreseen? It remains significant, since all of these devices (except the electronic and power electronic components) are 19th century science realised with 20th century technology. Science is needed to improve both the fundamental processes and the technologies of;

  • Basic energy conversion processes and their manufacturing costs
  • Durability and reliability of the devices and systems
  • Efficient energy storage - he fundamental barrier to implementing renewable energy

Development of Fission and Fusion Energy

Douglas Muir and V. Pronyaev
Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Nuclear Data Section, International Atomic Energy Agency, Austria

Many synergies exist between developments in the physical and chemical sciences, on the one hand, and advances in technology. The connection is especially strong in the nuclear field. The effective development of new nuclear technologies, such as advanced fission reactors and nuclear fusion energy, would be impossible without a thorough understanding of the underlying physical and chemical processes. The safe and economical operation of existing nuclear facilities and technologies also clearly benefit from the availability of an accurate base of scientific knowledge. In return, science benefits from having a social and technological context in which to operate. This context helps scientists in prioritizing their research activities and helps justify public funding of scientific research. An especially close link exists between nuclear physics and nuclear fission power development. A similar link also exists between atomic physics and the development of nuclear fusion as a future energy source. In this paper, we will discuss these and other important examples of past and present synergies in the nuclear field. We conclude that the nuclear scientist of today has numerous opportunities to help lay the groundwork for meeting the world’s energy needs of tomorrow.

 

Energy: science, economics and environment

Jyoti Parikh
Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, India

Science is the main forerunner that brings new ideas in the energy sector. Scientific achievements prior to this century in the areas such as classical mechanics, thermodynamics and electromagnatism provide fundamentals within which energy systems operate. Discoveries in the 20th century such as photoelectric effect by Einstein, nuclear chain reaction by A Fermi and the possibilities for thermonuclear fusion have expanded the options available to energy system such as solar photovoltaic technology, nuclear energy, and so on. Recently developments like low and high temperature superconductivity, fuelcells, hydrogen carrier and so on also bring new hopes for energy sector.

However, which options get selected and used depend on technological and engineering advances at the time as they provide milieu in which the energy systems operate. Another discipline that is highly relevant is economics science which helps in deciding costs and benefits in absolute terms as well as in relative terms between the two energy options. Here, resource endowments available is one of the deciding factor for economic analysis.

Present energy system is highly dependent on non-renewable energy sources. In 1996, the commercial energy use reached 10 billion tonnes oil equivalent on a global scale. Therefore, local and global environmental problems started to mount. The urban air pollution problems due to use of fossil fuels in transport and industry are visible in many places. On the other hand, greenhouse effect due to fossil fuel use is threatening to bring climate change. Once again, science and technology such as energy efficiency, environmental sciences or new and renewable technologies has to come forward to solve these problems.

The quest for efficient and pollution free energy has expanded the horizons of science as well. Thus, the ever-changing scenario of population and consumption throws new challenges to various disciplines of science to which they have to respond.

Challenges for research and development in
renewable and solar energy technology

Gernot Oswald
President, Siemens Solar GmbH, Germany

Renewable energy sources will more and more complement and eventually replace segments of fossile energy.

Timing and speed of this development depend on both political and economic conditions. The challenges for R&D in Renewable and Solar Energy are to enhance efficiency and to bring the cost of these technologies down.

Photovoltaics directly converts light into electricity. This technology provides today only a very small portion of the world’s electricity generation. Its growth potential, however, is high if R&D is going to make it more competitive in power plant applications. The keyword in these efforts is "thinfilm". There are currently three different technologies available, which long-term promise some 40 % lower cost on a per watt basis compared to crystalline silicon cell technology. Status and prospects of this development will be discussed in some detail.

 

Energy and sustainable development in Africa /

Energie et Développement Durable de l’Afrique

Abdoussalam Ba
Directeur Général du CNES, Niger

L’énergie est le soubassement de toute activité économique. Le développement d l’Afrique passe donc la maîtrise de son approvisionnement en énergie.

Mais la situation énergétique africaine est très préoccupante. En effet on a constaté lors de l’élaboration du Plan d’Action de Lagos pour le Développement du continent en 1980 :

  • l’absence dans la plus part des pays d’une politique énergétique, de programme de développement énergétique à court, moyen et long termes
  • le manque d’intégration des activités énergétiques aux efforts nationaux globaux pour les plans de développement ;
  • la nécessité de dresser un bilan exhaustif de toutes les ressources énergétiques, de leur potentialité, de leurs possibilités de développement et d’utilisation, des besoins énergétiques y compris les équipements adéquats.
  • La nécessité d’entreprendre des actions communes entre les pays africains pour le développement et l’utilisation des ressources existantes en Afrique. Ce qui pose comme préalable l’initiation et le développement d’une coopération énergétique aux niveaux sous-régional et régional.

Après un survol des ressources énergétiques du continent cet exposé fait le point sur les actions entreprises par les Etats africains au niveau national, sous-régional et au niveau du continent pour tenter de résoudre le problème ainsi posé.

En particulier le Programme Energétique Africain initié par la Banque Africaine de Développement a été évoqué. De même les programmes mis en œuvre par les Etats depuis la conférence des Nations Unies sur les Sources d’Energies Nouvelles et Renouvelables de Nairobi en 1981 ont été présentés. L’accent a été mis sur l’expérience des pays d’Afrique de l’ouest dont certains ont entrepris dès le lendemain des Indépendances des études relatives à l’exploitation de l’énergie solaire.

L’échec des tentatives de mise en œuvre d’Institutions sous-régionale de coopération en matière d’énergies renouvelables (CRES/CEAO ), régionale(CRAES/OUA) a été mentionné

Cependant, le Programme Solaire Mondial dont certains Projets africains de Haute Priorité sont déjà exécutés ou en cours d’exécution constitue une perspective prometteuse pour l’utilisation des énergies renouvelables en vue d’un développement durable de l’Afrique.

The provision of science and technology development for sustainable energy in developing countries with the case study on Indonesia

Harijono Djojodohardjo
Chairman, National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, Indonesia

Energy has been recognized to be directly essential for the prosperity of the people, in addition to food and housing. In addition, there is an indication that energy consumption per capita is commensurate with the industrial progress of a country or an economic community. There is also a close relation between the industrial progress of a country to its scientific progress. In the light of the new global effort to resort to the environmentally friendly energy resources technology and utilization, the role of the scientific progress of the country can not be overemphasized. Therefore, and it is also observed that the economic prosperity and techno-industrial progress of the country to a large extent is determined by the country-technology developing efforts. The author will elaborate this issue and proposes some strategic approach to address the issue.

 

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12. Science and Energy 

 

Research and development of conventional and alternative energies. Present status and prospects for fossil fuels, nuclear energy, hydroelectric energy, solar energy, … Patterns of energy production, distribution, consumption. Challenges for scientific research.

Chair:
Rapporteur: Ugo Farinelli ENEA, Italy

Session co-ordinator: B. Berkovski Director, Division of Engineering Sciences, UNESCO
Local secretary: T. Jászoy Budapest Technical University, Hungary


ABSTRACTS:

Energy policy: strategy and challenges for the future:
technology
perspective

Chihiro Watanabe
Department of International Engineering and Management, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan

The global imbalance of energy supply and demand coupled with the environmental consequences of environmental emissions is causing mounting concern for the sustainability of our development future. One answer to this predicament is to find appropriate solutions based on the systems options, incorporating advanced technologies, which can help to overcome energy and environmental constraints while also maintaining sustainable development.

While R&D investment has become increasingly more expensive and difficult to sustain such a huge investment, a dramatic increase in the transboundary flow of people, goods, money and information together with an increase in technology complementarity with capital stock and labor forces has accelerated the growth and spread of global technology spillovers.

Facing the above circumstances, in addition to extensive efforts to maintain sustainable R&D investment, a substitution of technology from the global marketplace for indigenous R&D investment has become an important strategy leading to greater concern for assimilation capacity (the ability to utilize this spillover technology) for sustainable development.

Efficient global learning is linked to technology spillover and both has mutually stimulating interaction. Thus, technology spillover not only alleviates some of the burden of huge R&D investment but also enhances the learning exercise involved in assimilating environmentally friendly technologies and processes.

Efficient global leaning improves quality of technology accelerating technology diffusion leading to socio-economic development. This development results in scarcity of energy and environmental capacity which induces further technology development and thus creates a virtuous cycle between R&D, assimilation of technology, energy efficiency improvement and socio-economic development.

Key messages obtained from the above review to energy policy could be summarized as follows:

  1. Systems dimensions are crucial for energy technologies to attain the sustainability goal.
  2. Global complementarity is indispensable for attaining the goal.
  3. Stimulation of global learning linked with technology spillover will play significant role.
  4. Construction and maintenance of a virtuous cycle thereon would be crucial.

Distributed power: a challenge for the 21st century

John Loughhead
Vice-President Technology, ALSTOM, France

The electricity supply systems common in the developed world today were conceived 50-60 years ago, at a time when they were considered a subject for public interest and control. Much electricity was generated from coal, and the primary objective was to maximise efficiency to reduce cost. Based on the technology of the day the optimum solution was to centralise generation close to the source of fuel and/or the essential heat sink. The energy was transmitted as electricity at high voltage (to minimise losses) on overhead air-insulated cables to minimise costs. Environmental concerns were limited to the deposit of combustion ash, and were resolved by building high chimneys so the problem was literally blown away in the wind.

During the last few years much has changed, and a number of factors, including:

suggest that not only is the classical solution no longer the best, but even that we may be forced to move away from it.

Given the above factors the optimum solution today appears to be a distributed power concept, where energy is transmitted as fuel and then converted to the form required (electricity or heat) at point of use. To do this requires certain technologies: new power electronic converters, computer-based protection and control systems, new conversion systems such as fuel cells, microturbines, etc. Some of these already exist, others are in development today, so distributed power is now realistic.

Implementing distributed power is best done as co-generation (both electricity and heat), and this immediately offers efficiencies around 85%, compared with the typical 55% of even the best central power generation technology. Further, it creates a system that is well-adapted to include renewable energy systems - solar photovoltaic, wind, wave, etc. - which are themselves inherently distributed systems due to the low power density of the energy source.

What, then, is the potential for science if these benefits can already be foreseen? It remains significant, since all of these devices (except the electronic and power electronic components) are 19th century science realised with 20th century technology. Science is needed to improve both the fundamental processes and the technologies of;

Development of Fission and Fusion Energy

Douglas Muir and V. Pronyaev
Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, Nuclear Data Section, International Atomic Energy Agency, Austria

Many synergies exist between developments in the physical and chemical sciences, on the one hand, and advances in technology. The connection is especially strong in the nuclear field. The effective development of new nuclear technologies, such as advanced fission reactors and nuclear fusion energy, would be impossible without a thorough understanding of the underlying physical and chemical processes. The safe and economical operation of existing nuclear facilities and technologies also clearly benefit from the availability of an accurate base of scientific knowledge. In return, science benefits from having a social and technological context in which to operate. This context helps scientists in prioritizing their research activities and helps justify public funding of scientific research. An especially close link exists between nuclear physics and nuclear fission power development. A similar link also exists between atomic physics and the development of nuclear fusion as a future energy source. In this paper, we will discuss these and other important examples of past and present synergies in the nuclear field. We conclude that the nuclear scientist of today has numerous opportunities to help lay the groundwork for meeting the world’s energy needs of tomorrow.

 

Energy: science, economics and environment

Jyoti Parikh
Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, India

Science is the main forerunner that brings new ideas in the energy sector. Scientific achievements prior to this century in the areas such as classical mechanics, thermodynamics and electromagnatism provide fundamentals within which energy systems operate. Discoveries in the 20th century such as photoelectric effect by Einstein, nuclear chain reaction by A Fermi and the possibilities for thermonuclear fusion have expanded the options available to energy system such as solar photovoltaic technology, nuclear energy, and so on. Recently developments like low and high temperature superconductivity, fuelcells, hydrogen carrier and so on also bring new hopes for energy sector.

However, which options get selected and used depend on technological and engineering advances at the time as they provide milieu in which the energy systems operate. Another discipline that is highly relevant is economics science which helps in deciding costs and benefits in absolute terms as well as in relative terms between the two energy options. Here, resource endowments available is one of the deciding factor for economic analysis.

Present energy system is highly dependent on non-renewable energy sources. In 1996, the commercial energy use reached 10 billion tonnes oil equivalent on a global scale. Therefore, local and global environmental problems started to mount. The urban air pollution problems due to use of fossil fuels in transport and industry are visible in many places. On the other hand, greenhouse effect due to fossil fuel use is threatening to bring climate change. Once again, science and technology such as energy efficiency, environmental sciences or new and renewable technologies has to come forward to solve these problems.

The quest for efficient and pollution free energy has expanded the horizons of science as well. Thus, the ever-changing scenario of population and consumption throws new challenges to various disciplines of science to which they have to respond.

Challenges for research and development in
renewable and solar energy technology

Gernot Oswald
President, Siemens Solar GmbH, Germany

Renewable energy sources will more and more complement and eventually replace segments of fossile energy.

Timing and speed of this development depend on both political and economic conditions. The challenges for R&D in Renewable and Solar Energy are to enhance efficiency and to bring the cost of these technologies down.

Photovoltaics directly converts light into electricity. This technology provides today only a very small portion of the world’s electricity generation. Its growth potential, however, is high if R&D is going to make it more competitive in power plant applications. The keyword in these efforts is "thinfilm". There are currently three different technologies available, which long-term promise some 40 % lower cost on a per watt basis compared to crystalline silicon cell technology. Status and prospects of this development will be discussed in some detail.

 

Energy and sustainable development in Africa /

Energie et Développement Durable de l’Afrique

Abdoussalam Ba
Directeur Général du CNES, Niger

L’énergie est le soubassement de toute activité économique. Le développement d l’Afrique passe donc la maîtrise de son approvisionnement en énergie.

Mais la situation énergétique africaine est très préoccupante. En effet on a constaté lors de l’élaboration du Plan d’Action de Lagos pour le Développement du continent en 1980 :

Après un survol des ressources énergétiques du continent cet exposé fait le point sur les actions entreprises par les Etats africains au niveau national, sous-régional et au niveau du continent pour tenter de résoudre le problème ainsi posé.

En particulier le Programme Energétique Africain initié par la Banque Africaine de Développement a été évoqué. De même les programmes mis en œuvre par les Etats depuis la conférence des Nations Unies sur les Sources d’Energies Nouvelles et Renouvelables de Nairobi en 1981 ont été présentés. L’accent a été mis sur l’expérience des pays d’Afrique de l’ouest dont certains ont entrepris dès le lendemain des Indépendances des études relatives à l’exploitation de l’énergie solaire.

L’échec des tentatives de mise en œuvre d’Institutions sous-régionale de coopération en matière d’énergies renouvelables (CRES/CEAO ), régionale(CRAES/OUA) a été mentionné

Cependant, le Programme Solaire Mondial dont certains Projets africains de Haute Priorité sont déjà exécutés ou en cours d’exécution constitue une perspective prometteuse pour l’utilisation des énergies renouvelables en vue d’un développement durable de l’Afrique.

The provision of science and technology development for sustainable energy in developing countries with the case study on Indonesia

Harijono Djojodohardjo
Chairman, National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, Indonesia

Energy has been recognized to be directly essential for the prosperity of the people, in addition to food and housing. In addition, there is an indication that energy consumption per capita is commensurate with the industrial progress of a country or an economic community. There is also a close relation between the industrial progress of a country to its scientific progress. In the light of the new global effort to resort to the environmentally friendly energy resources technology and utilization, the role of the scientific progress of the country can not be overemphasized. Therefore, and it is also observed that the economic prosperity and techno-industrial progress of the country to a large extent is determined by the country-technology developing efforts. The author will elaborate this issue and proposes some strategic approach to address the issue.